Plymouth Argyle have been dealt a cruel blow after defender Carl McHugh backtracked on his agreement to sign a new contract in order to move to Motherwell instead.
The midfielder verbally agreed to stay with the Pilgrims last week to ease the exits of captain Curtis Nelson, Reuben Reid, Kelvin Mellor and Tyler Harvey.
The 23-year-old Irishman is described on Motherwell’s own website as a ‘real fan-favourite at Home Park’ after starring in their promotion push last season that fell short at Wembley.
In a club statement, a disappointed Argyle revealed they had a contract all ready to sign for McHugh after successful talks with his agent.
“We understand that Motherwell Football Club will today announce that they have signed Carl McHugh despite the fact that contract terms for him to extend his contract with Plymouth Argyle were agreed in writing between Argyle’s CEO Martyn Starnes, Carl, and Carl’s agent Sky Andrew last Friday,” read the statement.
The statement explained: “Carl subsequently confirmed in a telephone call with manager Derek Adams that he was planning to travel back to Home Park on Monday for pre-season training.
“However, on Monday morning, we were advised by Carl’s agent that he had been contacted by another club over the weekend and that Carl had expressed a wish to speak with them.
“We are extremely disappointed that Carl has changed his mind and chosen to join Motherwell after he had previously given his agent the authority to extend his contract with Argyle.”
McHugh made 44 appearances last season for the Pilgrims, primarily as a central midfielder with Curtis Nelson and Peter Hartley in defence – all three of whom have now left Home Park.